Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Basics

This morning when I turned my phone on I had a message. F, who is a ministerial candidate with the Church of Religious Science, wanted to talk with a "traditional pastor" about advice for entering the ministry. I cracked up that I am considered "traditional". I called this afternoon with my two cents and then figured I might as well post it.

  • Love the people. This one is simple and obvious and repeated time and time again. It is also about as true as they get. I have been amazed by the outpouring of love I have received. Granted, at the beginning it was not so loving, but now, having "loved them through it", these people are fantastic in showing and sharing love.
  • Rest on your call. There will be lots of things that challenge your sense of self, your sense of ministry, even your sense of God. Hold strong to what you know--that God has called you to this work with a plan and a purpose. Remind yourself of why you followed the call and the ways that God has equipped you to be faithful.
  • Surround yourself with a community of support (peers, mentors, colleagues, friends) who draw you into accountability, who encourage you, and who affirm you up one side and down the other. I am quite convinced that without my "cheerleaders" who offer me encouragement, a listening ear, advice, and time in the good times and the bad I would not have survived these first two years. I would have left without people holding me up in the most difficult times.
  • Practice Sabbath for your own sanity and that of your people. Take your day off. Use your vacation and study time. You are not indispensable. (Sorry to break it to you). Sabbath will restore you. Taking sabbath also models for your congregation that neither you nor they have to work yourself/themselves into the ground in order to successful or productive. (Plus it's a commandment and thou shalt do it!)
  • Keep studying and learning. I suppose I figured that after leaving seminary I would only be reading the Bible, commentaries for sermon preparation, and leisure books. Boy was I wrong! But it's been worth it. I have learned a lot. My new recommendation is: Spiritual Entrepreneurs. It has resonance with "Deepening your Effectiveness" but I think is more user friendly and would get the point across in a laity book study in a better way.
  • Take time to structure your time and your schedule to do the things you need and want to do.
Any other tidbits you might offer?

Any tidbits for "How to change churches" or "Becoming a senior pastor" that you would offer this transitioning pastor?!

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